Northern Ireland Countryside survey

In the late 1980s, a baseline land cover survey was carried out in Northern Ireland (NI) to estimate the area of different types of Primary Habitats from a random sample set of quarter kilometre grid squares.

The Surveys

The Northern Ireland Countryside Survey (NICS) was carried out for Environment and Heritage Service DoENI. Survey results were subsequently used to guide land use decisions and to inform policy relating to AONBs, Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) and the NI Biodiversity Strategy.

A monitoring resurvey was carried out in 1998 (NICS 2000) to determine the extent of change using the same sample grid squares and methods as in the baseline. A third time series of the NICS was carried out in 2007 to survey 287 grid squares. 

Northern Ireland Countryside Survey 2007

Standard field procedures for the baseline survey facilitated consistent recording between field surveyors and survey time series. NICS 2007 updates the procedures and takes account of developments in GIS, electronic data recording and the availability of colour aerial photography.

Habitat change in the Northern Ireland Countryside 

Quantitative information on the distribution, amount and type of wildlife habitats in the countryside and how they change with time, gives context to discussion on biodiversity and land use issues. It can also be used to indicate progress in meeting national and international obligations on wildlife conservation and sustainable development. Providing reliable information on habitats in different types of landscape is the purpose of the Northern Ireland Countryside Survey 2000.

The technical report of the Northern Ireland Countryside Survey 2000 describes the quantitative distribution of wildlife habitats recorded in 1998 and shows how they have changed since 1987.

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